More Homeless Students In Oregon Schools | Salem, Oregon | Northwest Cable News
The number of homeless students enrolled in Oregon schools is on the rise, according to the latest numbers from the The Oregon Department of Education.
Statewide, 20,545 students were in unstable housing during the 2010-2011 school year.
Statewide, the number of homeless students was up by about 1,500 from the year before, and has doubled since the state started taking a homeless student count during the 2003-2004 school year.
“These are kids who aren’t choosing their situations and are victims of their circumstances,” said Kristin Kinnie, Homeless Liaison for the North Clackamas School District.
Kinnie said she’s seen many forms of homelessness affect the district’s 344 students who didn’t have stable homes.
“They may start out in a shelter then maybe move to a car, stay with a friend for a month, then go back to their car,” said Kinnie. “Sometimes they’ll be on the street or go camping for the summer.”
Kinnie runs the district’s Family Support Center, which helps students and their families cover the basics. The center provides clothing, food, toiletries and often sleeping bags — emblems of what Kinnie sees as a growing trend.
“Where the economy has gone, we’re seeing more families that are homeless, and stay homeless for one to three years,” said Kinnie, adding that years ago, families would usually be back in stable housing after no more than three months on the street.
“I’m seeing families who are experiencing this for the first time and they don’t know what to do,” said Kinnie.